A new kind of energy-efficient light bulb may provide an alternative to existing compact fluorescent (CFL) and Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs. The new bulbs, made by Seattle-based Vu1, use a technology called electron stimulated luminescence (ESL) to produce incandescent-quality light.
The ESL bulbs generate light by firing electrons to stimulate phosphor, and the whole setup is encased in normal light-bulb glass. The bulbs are estimated to last up to 6,000 hours, which is comparable to CFLs, and three to four times as long as incandescent bulbs.
Rejoice, all ye haters of a fluorescent future. The same legislation that sparked widespread adoption of CFL lighting in favor of the comparatively inefficient incandescent bulb may have had an unexpected result: the first significant efficiency improvements in century-old incandescents in decades.
Many predicted extinction for Edison's light bulb after Congress passed an energy law two years ago which set a 2012 deadline for increased lighting efficiency standards. But a number of companies are rushing to bring the turn-of-the-century technology up to the tougher regulations.
Rotation of microspheres in a vertically changing external magnetic field. The color is switched between on (blue) and off states. Video courtesy Yin lab, UC Riverside
In the future, signs will be instantly rewritable and walls will change color at the flip of a switch. A research team at the University of California at Riverside has created a new magnetically activated, instantly and reversibly color-changing material with potentially groundbreaking applications. The technology is based on that used by colorful birds, beetles, and butterflies: instead of static pigments, the material employs "structural color," which depends on the interference effects of light.
Ouch, Harry Potter. Your new movie doesn't premiere for two months, yet real scientists are already one-upping you
Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Cornell University both said last week they've designed invisibility cloaks that work in the visible-light spectrum. OK, so they're not big enough to cover a budding young wizard sneaking around at night, but hey, it's a step.
Researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California successfully converted sound waves to light radiation by reversing a process that transforms electricity to sound, which is commonly used in cell phones. This is the first time that sound has been converted to light. The findings, which were published this week in Nature Physics, could improve how computer chips, LEDs, and transistors are made, and also have applications in ultrafast materials science and terahertz radiation (T-ray) generation.
The research team initially predicted that the conversion was possible around a year ago, using computer modeling, and has been trying to confirm it in the lab ever since.